THE Seychelles mational women’s and men’s basketball teams are in South Africa on a training camp tour.

They played against Wits University on Sunday evening, February 27 with the women’s team beating Wits 60-38 at the end of the 4th quarter. The men lost 70-74 to Wits, with Wayne Brown Mhlongo and Lebesa Selepe scoring the most points.

Having arrived on Friday February 25, women’s head coach Phillip Arissol said, “We are in the country for two weeks in preparation for the Indian Ocean Island Games,” which they will be hosting in August.

The 2011 Indian Ocean Island games also include nations such as Mauritius, Maldives, Madagascar and Comoros.

Their intensive training programme began with matches against various varsities: Wits, Vaal University of Technology, University of Johannesburg and University of Pretoria. They will also play Johannesburg clubs Egoli Magic, Soweto Raptors and Soweto Wild Cats.

Seychelles’ technical advisor Paul Denis said South Africa was chosen as the first stop en route to France where they also plan to continue their training.

The idea of having the tour here materialised during a FIBA (International Basketball Federation) conference in October last year, said Basketball South Africa’s national administrator, Tsepo Nyewe, who facilitated communication with the head of Olympic Committee, Jim Laurie.

“One of the reasons we chose to come to South Africa, which we have been trying to do for the last four years, is because of the growth (in the love of basketball) here. South Africa is moving very fast,” said Denis.

Johannesburg’s altitude also played a role in the teams’ choice of destination, Nyewe said.

“We [Basketball SA] created the programme for them and varsity teams are top teams”, Nyewe said as he explained the choice of opponents for the visitors.

Both the women and men’s national team will be playing against South Africa and Zimbabwe’s senior national teams.

South Africa’s national women’s and men’s teams will be training at Wits’ Hall 29 in preparation for their match against Seychelles this Sunday, March 6. The Women’s match starts at 3pm and the Men are at 6pm.